Cordoba, Spain (again)

(Alex)

Cordoba. B and I had been before, way back in 2014, but as my mate was keen to see the place as well it was here that we disembarked our bus for the next leg of our Spanish trip.

Buses worked well as a mode of transport around Andalucia, by the way. I’m generally not a fan, but in the south of Spain they travelled regularly between the main cities, had good air conditioning (pretty key with the temperatures in the mid-40s), and were very cheap – all in all, quite an efficient way of getting around. The only slight downside was that on this journey I got sat next to a young Spanish man who talked constantly on the phone, very loudly, for the entire hour and 45 minute trip, but as I had no idea what he was saying it turned into background noise eventually.

Our one-night stay was in the Hostel La Corredera, which sits on the corner of the Plaza de la Corredera, the main square in Cordoba. We got a private room for the attractive price of just £28 for the two of us (I can never get over just how cheap most of Spain is), though I was up-sold to a room with air-conditioning for an extra €5 when we arrived. This was a good decision, in hindsight, as I believe I may have otherwise melted. Cordoba in summer is ridiculously hot.

The priority after we checked in was a bit of food, but we had forgotten to account for something crucial – the after lunch siesta. Throughout much of southern Spain, things tend to shut for a couple hours from about 2pm while everybody naps. We went out looking at about 1pm, but by that time everything was starting to close up. In increasing desperation, we broke the rule about never eating on a main tourist square and had a meal on the main tourist square. This actually turned out to be pretty nice, a little expensive for Spain (read: not expensive at all) although the portion sizes were enormous.

Refuelled, the next stop was the Mosque of Cordoba. I’d visited here last time as well, but as it is one of the things to see in Cordoba I thought I’d tag along and see it again anyway. Built as a huge Islamic mosque, it has actually been run as a Roman Catholic church for the last several hundred years, and the inside of the building reflects this in its strange mix of the two religions. It is a pretty amazing place, to be honest, though both times I’ve been now I’ve been a little disappointed that the photos never reflect the full glory. You’ll just have to see it for yourselves someday, I guess. Tickets are €8, though I think if you go early in the morning you can get in for free, for some reason.

Pretty soon after we left the mosque we ran into a bunch of young Italian guys we’d met at the hostel in Seville, and we decided to all have a beer or two together. Of their group of five, only one of them spoke English well, so we were basically limited to talking to him, but that didn’t matter much. The rest of the guys seemed perfectly content yelling happily at each other and trying to teach us little phrases in Italian, and we ended up sitting with them for a couple of hours. Italians are great fun to have at a table, even if you have no idea what they’re saying.

Eventually we decided we should probably see a little more of Cordoba, given we did only have the one night there, so we said our goodbyes and went off on a little walk around the old town. I’d remembered it as being quite small from my original visit, but it felt a lot larger this time around – I checked it out later, and that may have been because Cordoba apparently has the second largest old town in all of Europe. So who knows what I was thinking the first time. The Jewish Quarter was interesting, if entirely deserted in the late afternoon, and the Roman Bridge was, as last time, an impressive sight. The latter is actually far older than I’d realised as well – it was built in the first century BC, and still going strong. They definitely built things to last, back then.

Eventually, once it got dark, we found a place which looked nice along a little pedestrian-only street called Calle Enrique Romero Torres. The food was nice there, though I can’t remember the name of the place, but my favourite thing was actually the lack of traffic along the street. Instead of being disturbed by noisy cars, we got to just sit and people-watch while we had our meal, which was much more preferable. I know I am at risk of sounding about 78 rather than 28 here, but it is just way nicer so I don’t care.

We could hear some drums during dinner, so once we’d paid up we went off alongside the river in search of what they were for. Turned out to be some sort of religious parade, though despite a bit of a search after I got home I never did find out what it was celebrating. Not that it mattered – randomly running across little things like this is what travel is all about, for me, so I enjoyed it all the same.

And that was the end of the night, and the lightening trip to Cordoba. Next stop – Granada, Spain.

B & A.

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